Birthplace: Constance, Swabia, Germany
Location of death: Ulm, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: German mystic
German mystic, born of good family at Überlingen on Lake Constance on the 21st of March, in all probability in the year 1300; he assumed the name of his mother, his father being a Herr von Berg. He was educated for the Church, first at Constance, then at Cologne, where he came under the influence of the greatest of the German mystics, Meister Eckhart. He subsequently entered a monastery in Constance, where he subjected himself to the severest ordeals of asceticism. In 1335 he wandered through Swabia as a preacher, and won all hearts by his gentle, persuasive eloquence; the effusive lyricism of his language made him an particular favorite among the nuns. About 1348 he seems to have settled in Ulm, where he died on the 25th of January 1366. Suso's first work, Das Büchlein der Wahrheit, was written in Cologne about 1329; setting out from Eckhart's doctrines, he presents the mystic faith from its speculative or theoretical side; whereas in Das Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit, written some years later in Constance, he discusses the practical aspects of mysticism. The latter work, which Suso also translated into Latin under the title of Horologium sapientiae, has been called the finest fruit of German mysticism. Suso is the poet of the early mystic movement, "the Minnesinger of Gottesminne." But his faith is purely medieval in tone, inspired by the romanticism of the age of chivalry; the individualism, the philosophic insight and the anti-Catholic tendencies which made the mystic movement in its later manifestations so important a forerunner of the Reformation are absent. Suso's works were collected as early as 1482 and again in 1512.
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